Young people launch new strategy to help tackle gang violence

March 22, 2016

 

A new strategy aimed at continuing the good work being done to tackle youth and gang violence in Wolverhampton has been unveiled.

 

Over the last few years, the city's previous gangs strategy has helped greatly improve the lives of those communities formerly blighted by gangs, bringing about a fall in gun and knife crime in the process. It has also seen the development of a range of new activities designed to tackle problem gangs.

 

The new 2016-19 Preventing Gang Involvement and Youth Violence Strategy seeks to build upon its success by shifting the focus from harm reduction to prevention.

 

In particular, the new strategy seeks to stop people becoming involved in gangs in the first place with extra emphasis on early intervention and prevention and providing support to help people move away from violence and gangs. Tougher action will also be taken against those who refuse to leave.

 

Other priorities include reducing reoffending, improving intelligence gathering by monitoring social media and developing stronger working practices with local schools and the health sector.

 

Councillor Sandra Samuels, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "The issue of gang violence is being managed effectively in Wolverhampton, which is helping to greatly improve the lives of communities which may otherwise have been blighted by gangs.

 

"In recent years, all key indicators such as knife and gun crime have reduced, there are less visible signs of gang tension for our communities and the partnership approach to gang-related harm between various agencies has been strengthened.

 

"This new strategy, which was developed with the help of a 12-week public consultation, seeks to continue this excellent work, and will have an important role in helping the council, police and other agencies control the problem."

 

Councillor Val Gibson, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, added: “Nationally, young people tend to be the most likely to become embroiled in gang culture, and I welcome the fact that a key focus of this new strategy is on preventing younger people from getting involved in gangs in the first place.”

 

Superintendent Keith Fraser from West Midlands Police said: “We continue to tackle issues around gangs and youth violence and it is positive to see that our approach, working with the community and partners, is reducing the harm caused by gangs and youth violence.

 

“Building on this work, the new strategy will have a greater focus on prevention by addressing root causes that exacerbate risk of gang involvement."

 

The strategy was officially launched with an event at the Hope Family Project in Heath Town, attended by children and young people who entered an art competition run by Safer Wolverhampton Partnership.

 

They were asked to draw posters depicting what the city would look like if gang related violence and knife crime was eradicated, and their winning designs have been incorporated into the strategy.

 

The 2016-19 Preventing Gang Involvement and Youth Violence Strategy can be seen on the Safer Wolverhampton Partnership website at www.saferwton.org.uk

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